Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Four Generations of our Family through the Eyes of the Street Photographer

Recently I read an article in the July edition of Australian Family Tree Connections Written by Mrs Leonie Punch.  In this article, she shares some of the wonderful family photos she has of her family taken in the 1930's and 1940's by street photographers, along with a little of the history of the street photographers in Australia.  
It seems that the street photographers were not always popular, upsetting pedestrians, the local council and the more established photographic studios. 

Numerous articles can be found in TROVE relating stories of proposed changes in laws, prosecution and complaints about the street photographers who made their living snapping photos of couples, families out shopping or going about their daily business. 

Street photography was a way that many men earned money in tough times, and even though we are so thankful for the glimpses of the past that they have provided us with, they weren't always popular. Following WWI through to the early 1950', they were the subject of many court convictions, complaints and changes law. 

However, I am very thankful for the intrusion of these photographers into the everyday lives of my ancestors as they went about their shopping.  Their pictures provide us with wonderful glimpses of our grandparents, great uncles and aunts dressed up in their best as they go out shopping. I love the pictures that capture the family groups striding out in their hat, gloves and bags.

I thought I would share some of the family picture's that I wouldn't have if there had not been the street photographers. In some cases they provide us glimpses of our family through the generations as is shown in the pictures below of my husbands great grandmother, grandmother, mother and uncle and then his sister!!

Jessie Smith (Taylor) and daughter Joyce

Jessie Taylor with her Mother Marion Taylor (nee McNair)

The first picture shows my husbands great grandmother Marion Millar Taylor (nee McNair) and his grandmother Jessie Taylor.  The second picture shows his grandmother Jessie Smith (nee Taylor) and his mother Joyce as a young girl.
Jessie Smith and her Grand daughter Sue-Ellen

Jessie Smith and twins Colin and Joyce

The next two photos show Jessie with her twins Colin and Joyce (from previous photo) and finally another generation!!  Jessie with her granddaughter Sue-Ellen.  

So our family really has to thank a number of street photographers from the 1930's through to the 1950's, for providing us with a short time line of family photos through the generations.

Finally, this is my last blog for this year.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for the wonderful posts they have shared this year and the sense of community this blog has provided.  I have enjoyed reading them all, and learnt so much.  I would like to wish you all the best for the festive season, however you celebrate it and look forward to more collaboration in 2015.


  1. I have only inherited a few street photos from England and Australia. I wonder if you know how the photograph went to the person and how they paid for it?

  2. Yes I wondered about this to. I have read in some of the newspaper reports where the photographers were charged, not for taking the photos, but for handing out cards. Perhaps they freelanced from a studio ?

  3. These photos are wonderful. I don't believe I have one street photo in my collection. Thanks for sharing.

    Happy Holidays.

  4. How great to have these! I have one photograph of my grandfather coming home from work that looks like a street photographer photo, but I don't have any idea if there even were street photographers at work in 1939 in Detroit.


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